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As Long as We Remember...

May 4, 2007

Mission's Accomplished?

Edward Lulie III

Four years ago President George W. Bush posed smiling on the deck of an aircraft carrier in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner. It was not - as things turned out - a particularly wise thing to do because, while it was true that Saddam had been removed from power, things in Iraq were not yet secure.

The photo op set Democrats into an outraged frenzy. They gnashed their teeth and ranted that "Bush Lied! Bush Lied! Bush Lied!" That's pretty much a mantra with them these days.

On Tuesday, the fourth anniversary of that event, Democrats gathered to revisit the issue as President Bush vetoed a war funding bill that included deadlines for withdrawal from Iraq. They sent the bill over to the White House precisely on that date because they wanted another photo opportunity for them to jump up and down and yell, "Bush Lied! Bush Lied! Bush Lied!"

Probably this will turn out to be just as unwise in the long run. Why? Because it ignores the fact that removing Saddam from power was an accomplishment. Now, as gleeful Democrats continue to hammer the president over Iraq, they once again get caught and reveal themselves as anti-war and weak on defense.

It looks like the only U.S. troops they care about are the ones that die. By singing to their left and playing to their base, they risk losing the thin grip on power they just won. Will Joe Lieberman, exasperated by the antics of the anti-war left, finally jump ship and restore the GOP to power in the Senate? Stay tuned.

When you talk about lies, what about Bill Clinton and Al Gore claiming that the "era of big government was over?" In fact, it wasn't the bureaucracy that was cut back (with the willing help of a lot of Republicans), it was our armed forces that were downsized to the point that now, a decade later, we simply do not have the troops needed to continue holding Iraq and Afghanistan. Sure, we can overpower anyone in the world, but occupying territory requires manpower and we do not have enough troops available to do that.

Iraq may even have a solution. Increasingly there is talk about dividing Iraq into three sovereign parts and thereby setting the stage for future problems.

Kurdistan is already a reality in all but name and is rapidly consolidating power. This is an area almost entirely free of violence and one that is thriving. Turkey is not yet sure what to do about that.

The problem with the rest of Iraq is in dividing the oil rich area from the dirt poor area and separating two rival sectarian powers who each hate the other and, of course, both want the oil. By the way, where is all of "our" oil that this war was supposed to have really been about? Eh?

Someone said to me the other day that Bush's presidency had been an absolute disaster. Perhaps not, I replied. Look at it this way: Exxon and Mobile have had astronomical profits and have never been happier. Has Bush been a success? Just ask Wall Street.

Democrats grumble over this, but they are just as owned by big corporate donors as the GOP is. That's why you don't see any corporate hand wringing over those old bugaboos like price fixing, conspiracy to defraud and manipulating stocks to artificially inflate prices.

First, we heard that springtime gas prices went up due to a shortage of refining capability. Then it was said that prices went up as oil future prices shot up. Lack of refining capability conjures an image of excess oil, waiting to be processed and not a lack of it.

You would think if you couldn't process enough that there would be excess oil left waiting. So, how can it be that the supply of oil was really diminished instead of increased?

Next, we will hear that it's actually insects causing the problem. The Wall Street Gurus (knowing who actually calls the shots isn't the public) will all solemnly agree that yes, it's those damn moths eating excess oil supply and you can expect more stiff price increases to come. Mission accomplished?

Lastly, on a more humorous note there was the Baltimore Sun's website prominently showing a photo of Gov. Martin O'Malley, Senate President Mike Miller and other Democrats joyously posing at a bill signing ceremony under the headline "Felons Given The Right To Vote." I emailed the Sun and inquired, were those pictured planning to become felons? Or did they all have extensive criminal records we didn't know about? Imagine them arranged instead before a prison for a photo-op embracing hundreds of felons with their banner proudly displayed "Mission Accomplished."

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